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After a busy weekend, Lowndes County locks gates at local parks

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-30 17:55:51-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Police in Valdosta say they spent much of the weekend breaking up groups of ten or more people, leading Lowndes County to make the decision to close all parks on Monday.

Lowndes County and the City of Valdosta say they're closing parks like John Saunders to keep you safe.

It's all about social distancing.

“This past weekend we had an issue with many people gathering in several of our parks," said Paige Dukes, Lowndes County Emergency Management Agency. "There was no respect in regards to the ten or less, or the six-foot.”

Now, gates are closed, keeping you and others out.

Dukes says they understand people want a breath of fresh air but you've got to play it safe.

”We understand that everyone is stressed and wanting to get out and about," said Dukes, "but right now we know that social distancing is the only thing that will have an impact on the COVID-19 virus.”

The City of Valdosta is asking you to report any risky gathering you may see, preferably while it's happening. In some cases, gatherings they received call on have moved to another location.

”Please make sure you do it while they’re actually happening, we can’t be everywhere at once especially our police officers so we’re making sure that doesn’t put a strain on them,” said Ashlyn Johnson, public information officer for the City of Valdosta.

They say the stay at home order right now is voluntary, and they don’t want this type of activity to change that.

”It’s voluntary, but if our citizens aren’t in compliance with that, and we still have 10 percent of our population not doing that," Johnson said. "It could be a mandated policy.”

Police will be doing routine checks of parks in the county to make sure no one is violating the order.